January 30, 2004 - Museum of Contemporary Art Rome (MACRO) - MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART ROME
January 30, 2004



MACRO begins the new year with a major exhibitions by

Nicola De Maria

Nanni Balestrini

Elisabetta Benassi

Pascale Marthine Tayou

31 January 9 May 2004

Press conference and preview: Friday, 30 January 2004, Noon

Opening: Friday, 30 January 2004, 6.00 p.m.


Via Reggio Emilia, 54

00198 Roma

tel. centralino +39.06 6710 7929

fax +39.06 855 4090

macro [​at​] comune.roma.it


Press Office:

Maria Bonmassar: tel. 06-4825370 – 335-490311 – maria.bonmassar@tiscali.it
MACRO begins the new year with four exhibitions by significant Italian and International artists: the first ever anthological exhibition by Nicola De Maria to be held in a public museum in Italy, installations by Nanni Balestrini that question the contamination or cross-referencing between poetic language and the visual arts, a new work by roman artist Elisabetta Benassi that invites reflection on the existence and risks of a technological civilization, and finally, a project by the cameroonian artist Pascale Marthine Tayou that brings into focus the possibilities for intercultural and inter-religious encounters.

Nicola De Maria was born in Foglianise (Italy) and now lives and works in Turin. MACRO’s exhibition – the first anthology at a public museum in Italy – is being held in four separate rooms, each one dedicated to a major theme from Nicola De Maria’s poetical art: il Regno dei Fiori (the Kingdom of Flowers), l’astratto (the Abstract), i notturni (Nighttime) and la material (Matter). For each room the artist has created a new painting to place along side a selection of some of the most important paintings of his artistic career. Continuously changing from big to small formats, Nicola De Maria’s paintings tend to go beyond the limits of the frame to invade the space of the gallery. The spectator is engaged by the chromatic force and light that diffuse like a universal music; the true leitmotiv of Nicola De Maria’s artistic expression. The exhibition shows a selection of the artist’s oeuvre – Testa dell’artista cosmico; Buon Compleanno; Gialla canzone del mare; Sempre Regno dei Fiori. Sposa; Universo senza bombe; Lettera d’amore alle Muse che fuggono, Testa Orfica – and documents his research. Within the art of Nicola De Maria a universe full of wonder and amazement lives in harmony and presents a possible alternative to the real world.

Born in Milan in 1935, from the beginning of the sixties Nanni Balestrini was a member of the poetic groups “Novissimi” and “Gruppo 63″ that united writers of the new avant garde. Concurrent to his literary activity, Balestrini had been developing a body of work within the figurative arts. Four of Balestrini’s famous “Colonne verbali” will be shown along side two new works conceived especially for MACRO: “Incipit” and “Grande Cubo” both made from aluminum. These formerly architectural elements find new meaning and function as works of sculpture. They are typographical clichés given form with a laminate of zinc-magnesium and a layering of words. Liberated from the strict grid lines of the printed page, Balestrini’s melange of literature and art manifests visual corporealities with density, weight, height and, above all, presence.

A young Roman protagonist of the international scene, Elisabetta Benassi has created a new work especially for MACRO: “Tutti morimmo a stento” is an ambitious project curated by Gianfranco Maraniello. Born in Rome (1966), this young artist was quick to establish herself as a key player in the evolution of Italian video art. Benassi’s productions express two visions of the world: one vision that is rational and technological while the other is amorphous, dream-like and emotional. The protagonists of Benassi’s work tend to be androgynous, anxiously formulaic, doubles or twins; symbolic figures that animate a shocking and visionary reality. They stimulate mechanisms of memory that have either been stifled or lulled into complacency. “Tutti morimmo a stento” – like a parable – invites viewers to reflect on the consequences and risks of a technological civilization. In a junkyard analogous to a morose arena and an indeterminable time, the protagonists of Benassi’s “Tutti morimmo a stento” emerge as hybrid creatures, half man and half machine. Their bodies fused with the machinery of special prosthetics, these “motomen” enact their prophetic tragedy and accompany the artist in an exploration of banal decadence and disengagement.

Emerging Cameroonian artist, Pascale Marthine Tayou is exhibiting a new work created especially for MACRO: “Omnes Viae Romam Ducunt“, a project that brings into focus the possibilities for encounters between family, emigration, traditions and various religions. Born in Yaoundé, Cameroon in 1967, Tayou now lives and works in Ghent, Belgium. Tayou prefers art to be unpredictable, its realization dependent on materials collected during the exhibition as opposed to before it. His method of working signals a sort of contemporary intellectual nomadism. The resulting paintings, videos and installations are complex juxtapositions of images and videos with recycled materials and the artefacts of urban refuse. The genesis of Omnes Viae Romam Ducunt is a letter written by the artist to his mother in Cameroon, inviting her to come to Rome. The installation itself is built around the cardinal act of waiting for her response and eventual visit. The gallery walls become like pages in a dairy; cluttered with photographs and three film projections of images taken from family life. Due to the uncertainty of his mother’s willingness to make this great journey Tayou’s exhibition remains deliberately suspended, it’s conclusion as of yet undetermined.

To accompany each of these exhibitions, the Electa publishing house presents illustrated bilingual catalogues, with texts by various art critics and curators as well as extensive reproductions of the works exhibited.
MACRO contact for the press: Giannina Francalanci: tel. +39 06 6710 7915 / 06-8554090

Press Office:

Maria Bonmassar: tel. 06-4825370 – 335-490311 – maria.bonmassar@tiscali.it

Novella Mirri: tel. 06-678 88 74 – 335-6077971 – ufficiostampa@novellamirri.191.it

ELECTA Press Office:

Ilaria Maggi: tel: 02-21563250 – stampill@mondadori.it

Museum of Contemporary Art Rome (MACRO)
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